Summer makes me not to want to cook. As our lives move outside for the few precious months of weather that Boston will allow, so does my desire to be in the kitchen. If it were not for the first touch of a chill in the air these past few days, I would still be in outside mode-hoping not to actually have to think of turning on the stove till the leaves start to fall. Truly can’t remember the last time my oven was preheating- my grill has had all my attention these past few months. Well, when not sitting waterside at Teczmecal or Smith and Wolenskys, to be honest.
Today I am back in the kitchen. What to make? It’s mid-September, still Summer like days, but the cooler evenings and mornings are familiar declarations that Fall is about to consume us. I head to Market Basket. What greets me at the entrance? Apples. An orchard of them. Instantly I think, my Mom’s apple cake. Yum!
I have vivid recollections from almost kindergarten (in full disclosure, it might as well have been fourth grade- but that doesn’t sound as dramatic) of my Mom peeling apples at our kitchen table and the smell of cinnamon and foggy kitchen windows as the heat inside from the stove competed with the coldness of fall outside. As I am sitting writing this I can see my Mom’s very manicured hands working above a bowl that I am staring at now. Her hands were always polished, never an indiscretion of a chip, soft and perhaps a titch worn with blue veins that bared witness to how hard she worked. While a peeler would do for most, not for my Mom. A small, well used knife would allow her an almost uninterrupted peel to free the skin from the apple. It seemed that it was almost a single motion that once the skin was separated, the slices were in the bowl of iced water. She was Ginzu certified before such a thing was ever thought of!
Her labor, as you might have surmised, delivered the best Apple Cake that I have ever put into my mouth. Always moist. Always full of fall flavors. And above all, always served with love that could only be conjured up by someone that makes food the way she lived her life, with unconditional love and pure care.
Make it. And resist the temptation to ask those enjoying it why they haven’t called you in a while.
I love my Mom.
Combine the diced apples & sugar, let sit for 30 minutes.
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, & nuts. Whisk together to evenly distribute.
In a separate bowl, combine the macerated apples & sugar, oil, & eggs. Beat to combine.
Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and fold to incorporate.
Pour cake batter into a buttered and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, about 50 minutes.